Tarlac is a lively province surrounded by lush sugarcane plantations, emerald-green rice paddies and jungle-covered mountains. In the bustling provincial capital of Tarlac City, you can admire historic architecture and sample delicious local street food. Venture out the city to hike volcanic craters, bask on sandy riverside beaches and bounce along exhilarating white-water rapids.
Things to do in Tarlac
Tarlac is dotted with churches and monasteries that showcase the country’s religious roots. Perched atop Mount Resurrection in the Zambales Mountain Range, Monasterio de Tarlac commands sweeping views over the province. A nine-metre-tall statue of Jesus Christ soars over the monastery.
The Nambalan River winds through Tarlac and is fringed by sandy beaches where you can bask in the sunshine and enjoy a picnic lunch. The calm, crystalline water is perfect for cooling off while thatch-roof cottages dot the shoreline and shade you from the sun.
The provincial capital of Tarlac City is an ideal base for exploring the region. The bustling Tanedo Street is a great place to pick up souvenirs, while tree-lined Plazuela is a peaceful escape from the crowds. Food stalls dot the plaza and tempt travellers with Filipino specialties such as BBQ chicken skewers, fish balls and shaved ice topped with rainbow-coloured sugar syrups.
Jungle-covered mountains make Tarlac one of the best trekking destinations in the Philippines. The strenuous hike up Mt. Damas rewards you with incredible views over the surrounding countryside. At the summit of Mt. Pinatubo, you can peer into a cobalt-blue crater lake formed by volcanic activity.
White-water rafting trips along the Bulsa River are guaranteed to get your pulse racing. In addition to challenging class II and III rapids, you can enjoy beautiful forest scenery and have the chance to spot local wildlife. In the dry season, the calmer waters are ideal for kayaking.
Getting around Tarlac
Tarlac City is well-serviced by brightly coloured jeepney buses. Taxis are a fast and comfortable way to get around the city, while rental cars are great for exploring Tarlac at your own pace. Ninoy Aquino International Airport is a 2.5-hour drive from Tarlac City.